Ever since Norv Turner was (inexplicably?) hired to be the head coach of the San Diego Chargers I have been meaning to write about him. Back in the mid ’90s when he was the Redskins coach, he occasionally visited the carryout window at the Oakton Friendly’s (since closed) where I worked. What struck me the most about Turner was that he seemed uncomfortable in his own skin. He was not what I would have expected out of “a leader of men.” Perhaps I threw him off when I thanked him for doing such a good job turning Troy Aikman into such a good quarterback.* Anyhow, he was quiet and polite and his kids were well behaved. I think almost all of them ordered orange sherbet. Also, he drove a Buick LeSabre initially, followed by a Cadillac Seville.
It should also be noted that Friendly’s was not far from the Oakton Pettibon’s restaurant which also closed down. I wonder how often Turner passed his predecessor’s restaurant?
For the record, in some ways I think Turner got dealt a bad hand. I recall hearing that he tried to cut Michael Westbrook after the helmet incident against the Giants, but GM Charley Casserly voided it.
By the way, I once met Joe Gibbs at the long-lost Vienna Donuts (nee Mister Donut). If I recall it was spring time and he was wound up really tight. He signed an autograph on a napkin that said “To a super fan.” If he had only known. I also met Riggo in the same place one August, probably the same year. He was kind of withdrawn, though he was really flattered by my compliment of his color commentary during a recent preseason game. I think this was during the “transitional period” after he lived in a van down by the river for a while and his emergence as a football pundit.
*I was a hardcore Cowboys fan from about 1983 to 1997 or so, making for an interesting childhood at times. After a couple of years of Penn State football, the NFL paled in comparison. I no longer claim any NFL team as a favorite, though I tend to root against dome teams.
Norv Turner, Redskins, Joe Gibbs, John Riggins, Michael Westbrook